JUSTICE HAS been served in the Louise Woodward case. But the finality of the decision should not obscure the fact that the au pair system under which she worked is inherently exploitative of young women and invites tragedy.
This case, for all its complications and legal manoeuvring, showed the strength and flexibility of Massachusetts justice. The same cannot be said of the au pair system which operates under the guise of providing a learning experience for young women from abroad. In fact, it is a system of cut-rate child care, and child care is no place for confused, inexperienced, frustrated, immature or angry young women - barely more than girls - working by themselves.
Peter S. Canellos, Boston.com (Internet)
DURING THIS case, much grief was aired. Little was settled. There is no consensus on Woodward's culpability. Nor a definitive view of who was more poorly served by the legal process, Woodward or the Eappens. The British aren't even sure whether to be appalled by the tawdriness of the US justice system - or to put their own trials on TV.
LOUISE WOODWARD was well-liked by her elders: she was smart, well-spoken and a volunteer at both the Science and Children's Museums. "Good-natured, trustworthy, honest, intelligent, capable, balanced and, most important, kind," said the Woodward family's clergyman about the young woman whose rage left a two-inch crack in a nine-month-old's skull.
Now she is on her way home, someday to start a family of her own.
Lauri Umansky, Salon Magazine (Internet)
EVEN THOUGH the defence team's playing of the "working mother" card didn't work, the outpouring of sympathy for Woodward after the initial verdict illustrated how conflicted our culture still is about the relationship between motherhood and work.
The Economist, UK
ENGLAND IS the home of Mary Poppins, while Massachusetts is the scene of the Salem witch-hunts; and so the televised trial for murder of an English au pair girl in the state of Massachusetts played on potent stereotypes right from the start.